21 Savage's Lawyers Address "False Conclusions" in Rapper's Possible Deportation

All the latest details on the rapper's possible deportation

By Jess Cohen Feb 05, 2019 10:59 PMTags

New details are emerging following 21 Savage's arrest.

21 Savage, née She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested on Sunday morning by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for reportedly overstaying his visa. He now faces a possibility of deportation. On Tuesday, the rapper's lawyers released a statement in response to speculation about his arrest and possible deportation. 

"There has been a great deal of misreporting in the case of She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known professionally as 21 Savage," the statement begins. "Conjecture and misinformation help no one make good decisions and leads to false conclusions."

The statement goes on to list the facts, saying that 21 Savage was born in the United Kingdom and arrived legally in the United states under an H-4 visa. He remained in the United States until 2005, when he departed for approximately one month to visit the United Kingdom. He returned to the United States under a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005.

"Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad," the statement continues. "Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph's legal status expired through no fault of his own."

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"Mr. Abraham-Joseph, like almost two million of his immigrant child peers, was left without immigration status as a young child with no way to fix his immigration status. These 'Dreamers' come from all walks of life and every ethnicity," the statement goes on to say. "Mr. Abraham-Joseph has no criminal convictions or charges under state or federal law and is free to seek relief from removal in immigration court. ICE provided incorrect information to the press when it claimed he had a criminal conviction."

"Mr. Abraham-Joseph has three US Citizen children, a lawful permanent resident mother and four siblings that are either US Citizens or lawful permanent residents," the lawyers state. "He has exceptionally strong ties in the United States, having lived here since he was in the first grade. Because of his length of residence in the United States and his immediate relatives, Mr. Abraham-Joseph is eligible to seek Cancellation of Removal from an Immigration Judge."

The statement also says that 21 Savage was placed into deportation proceedings AFTER his arrest, he was not in deportation proceedings prior to this detention by ICE. The rapper's lawyers also claim that DHS has known his address since the filing of a U visa application in 2017, adding, "He has never hidden from DHS or any of its agencies."

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"Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not subject to mandatory detention under federal law and is eligible for bond," the statement continues. "By statute, bond should be granted by ICE when there is no flight risk or a danger to the community. ICE has the ability to set a bond and conditions of release on cases exactly like this. ICE routinely grants bond to individuals in Mr. Abraham-Joseph's circumstances, specifically individuals who have overstayed a prior valid visa and have relief from deportation under federal law. There is no chance that Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a flight risk. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not a 'danger' to the community as his acts of philanthropy and good will, as well as his music, continue to improve the communities from which he comes."

The lawyers also state that 21 Savage has a pending U visa application with the USCIS. "This U visa was filed as a result of being the victim of a deadly shooting in 2013," the statement reads. "That visa was filed in 2017 and remains pending. When granted, the U visa will afford him lawful status in the United States. Generally, ICE has recognized a pending facially valid U visa as a basis to delay removal proceedings and release individuals from custody."

"There continues to be no legal reason to detain Mr. Abraham-Joseph for a civil law violation that occurred when he was a minor, especially when people in his exact situation are routinely released by ICE. Many have speculated as to possible ulterior motives for his arrest and detention, including that he released music five days prior to his arrest by ICE, which included new lyrics condemning the behavior of immigration officials for their detention of children at the border," the statement concludes. "We are unaware of why ICE apparently targeted Mr. Abraham-Joseph, but we will do everything possible to legally seek his release and pursue his available relief in immigration court."

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Following the rapper's arrest, ICE released a statement, saying that they "arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA '21 Savage' during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday in metro Atlanta. Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon."

"Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. when his visa expired in July 2006," the statement continued. "In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia."

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"Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts," the statement concluded. "ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions."

On Tuesday morning, 21 Savage's manager took to Twitter to tell his followers that he just got off the phone with the 26-year-old rapper.

"He is in lockdown for 23hrs of the day no tv or any communication besides our 10 min phone calls," the tweet, which has since been deleted, read. "Everything I've told him that has been happening made him happy & makes this time fly by thank y'all for the support."